Posted: 6/21/12

Read 3 Initiative Holds Award Event at TAMIU Wednesday



An innovative family literacy partnership between HEB Stores, Laredo Independent School District and Texas A&M International University was celebrated at a special graduation ceremony and reception for participants and their families Wednesday at TAMIU’s Student Center Ballroom.

The HEB “Read Three” Program is a six-week workshop focused on early reading and nutrition that targets three and four-year-old children and their parents.  The initiative was launched in 2011 in Texas by HEB to educate parents and caregivers about the need to read to their children a minimum of three times per week and to provide them with tools and resources to prepare early learners, including access to books.

HEB provides funding and instructional materials for Laredo’s inaugural offering of “Read Three.” LISD provides classrooms, leader teachers and nutritionists.   TAMIU coordinates and provides student volunteers.

Over 70 children and their parents participated in this program offering. Ten TAMIU students and faculty were involved.

TAMIU College of Education associate professor Dr. Xuesong Wang said that encouraging early readers lays a crucial foundation for life success.

“Research shows that the better prepared young children are for emergent literacy skills at Pre-K levels, the better readers they become after they are in schools. Reading skills of children are powerful predictors for academic success. Unfortunately, many children, especially those from households of limited means, often have very limited early literacy skills by the time they go to elementary schools.  Lack of reading skills can lead to decreased educational attainment at K-12 schools and high school drop-out rates,” Dr. Wang explained.

She said the HEB “Read Three” Program pivotally aligns parents and children in literacy development.

“Parents learn to identify literacy teachable moments for their children and the children develop their literacy skills through interactive, play and learn sessions and shared learning time with their parents. These shared moments are invaluable in reinforcing the value of reading,” she observed.

Of equal value, parents and caregivers of the student participants learn the importance of good nutrition including fruits and vegetables, portion control and shopping for healthy food.

Program organizers hope to offer the program again in the Fall, concentrating on three-year-old students from the United Independent School District.

Participating in the event were HEB vice president Kate Rogers, Laredo Mayor Pro Tempore Cindy Liendo Espinoza, Dr. Catheryn Weitman, dean of TAMIU’s College of Education, Dr. A. Marcus Nelson, LISD superintendent and Doug Gonzalez, HEB director of retail operations for Laredo/Southwest.

For additional information, contact Dr. Wang at TAMIU at 956.326.3156 or email xuesong.wang@tamiu.edu.

To learn more about the HEB “Read Three Program,” visit heb.com, click on “Community Involvement” and learn more at “Read Three.”

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu